The Green Party wants to make independent media watchdog the Press Council answerable to the Government.
So if there is a centre-left Government of Labour, Greens and Winston, the Government looks likely to bring in Government censorship of print media. I mean can anyone imagine Winston thinking it is a bad idea?
If print media lose their independence by a Labour/Greens Government, then the possible penalties they could face from a Government appointed BSA regulator include:
- Compulsory publication of a statement from the BSA
- an order to refrain from publishing for a set period of time
- an order to refuse any advertisements for a set period of time
- $100,000 fines for non-compliance
- Pay costs (which can be huge)
The Minister of Broadcasting appoints all four members of the BSA. I have no criticism of the current BSA members and their decision to date. But extending their reach to include all media would be a huge step backwards for press freedom, and would inevitably lead to more politicised appointments.